Secondus Emerges PDP Chairman, Promises to Rebuild, Regain Power

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  • Adeniran, Dokpesi protest

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Delegates to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party saturday elected Mr. Uche Secondus, from the South-south, as the party’s national chairman, amid protests from two other contenders, who alleged that the voting process was compromised with the circulation of a ‘unity list’.

In his acceptance speech, Secondus said he felt humbled, and promises to rebuild the party and lead it to regain power from the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Secondus, who acted as National Chairman of the party shortly after PDP was ousted from power in 2015, polled 2000 votes to beat his closest rival former Minister of Education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, who got 230 votes.

Chief Raymond Dokpesi, scored 66 votes while Prof. Taofeed Adedoja got no vote.

Also Senator Umar Tsauri was elected the National Secretary of the party with 1,549 votes. He defeated Abubakar Mustapha who got 371 votes. Former Minister of State for Finance, Nanadi Usman, came third with 287 votes.

In other results, Senator Garba scored 1,316 to clinch the position of deputy national chairman (North). He defeated the wife of former Minister of Finance Inna Ciroma who got 350 votes. The second runner up was Abdulmalik Mahmood who scored 325 votes while Senator Umar Kumo came a distant fourth with 89 votes.

Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan emerged the National Publicity Secretary of the party. (See full list of the new executives of the party)

The result of the election followed a particular trend with most if not all candidates on the controversial ‘Unity List’ emerging victorious.

Yesterday’s convention was the party’s first elective convention since PDP suffered a devastating defeat in the 2015 general election and it had hoped to use the exercise to reposition itself ahead of the 2019 general election.

Though there were eight candidates for the party’s topmost position, one of them, Chief Olabode George, withdrew his participation less than 24 hours to the election, while four others – Mr. Jim Agbaje, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Chief Rasheed Ladoja and Mr. Olusegun Aderemi withdrew from the race at the convention ground, thus leaving the remaining four – Mr. Secondus, Prof. Adeniran, Chief Dokpesi and Prof. Adedoja- to slug it out.

However, following intense lobby and horse trading involving an influential bloc in the party which favored Uche Secondus, a former acting national chairman, he was already tipped to win the race even before actual voting began.

It was however not a smooth sail as some chairmanship aspirants complained bitterly about their being schemed out of the process.

Prior to voting, a list tagged ‘Unity list’ containing names of candidates said to have been endorsed by the party to win their offices, was circulated. Top on the unity list was Secondus. The circulation of the ‘unity list’ at the convention ground was vehemently protested by one of the aspirants, Dokpesi.

Dokpesi, who addressed journalists faulted the elections, describing it as a charade, warning such may destroy the party. Dokpesi said the voting process had been compromised, following the distribution of a ‘unity list’ containing names of candidates believed to have won elections into various national leadership positions in the party. He explained that the 21 names of candidates contained in the list appeared on the ballot papers as number one and in the voting boots as number one. He said complaints were lodged to the chairman of the PDP electoral committee Gabriel Susuan who confirmed that he had seen the list with some delegate but he was overwhelmed and could do little or nothing about it.

Dokpesi said it was unfortunate that a party which was just getting out of a major leadership crisis would be involved in acts of impunity and election malpractice. He however called on the party leadership to urgently rectify what he called an anomaly and a charade before it becomes another major challenge in the party ahead of 2019 general elections.

Also reacting to the election yesterday night, another aspirant, Adeniran said the circulation of the list of candidates while voting was yet to take place was absurd, adding that it had tainted the entire process.

He said although the arrangement put in place by the convention planning committee was very good, the organisers were overwhelmed by fraudulent people who would never let democracy thrive.

“The desperados are the ones perpetrating this act.

On the circulation of the ‘unity list’, he described it as absurd. This is the type of imposition we have been talking about. And when it is coming from those who are supposed to guide people to make free choice, then, of course, the consequences will be there,” he said.

He accused those he regarded as agents of imposition and impunity of being behind the unity list. These people, he said, were bent on destroying the party and would never let internal democracy and free choice to exist.

Adeniran alleged that the list were printed on the official PDP letter headed paper.

“I believe it couldn’t have come from any other source except the powers that be and their sponsors,” he said.

On whether he would accept the outcome of the result, he said: “We signed the peace accord and agreed that we will accept once it is free and fair. But when the conditions were not met, we are not bound to accept it.”.

However a member of the convention planning committee and former minister of Environment, John Odey, described the alleged circulation of candidates’ list as a non issue. He said that the list could not be traced to anyone since it was not signed.

The former minister said that the process at the convention was democratic despite the complaint over the circulation of the unity list by unknown persons.

Meanwhile, the disaffection created by the failure to micro zone the position of the national chairman zoned to the South, was not entirely laid to rest before the convention was held. On the eve of the convention, one of chairmanship aspirants, Olabode George, addressed the media announcing his withdrawal from the race.

George, a former deputy national chairman of the party, expressed displeasure over what he described as failure of the party and its leaders to uphold the arrangement arrangement which micro zoned the chairmanship to the South-west. He also accused Governor Wike of insulting the South West by saying they have not contributed much to the PDP to warrant their insistence on occupying the national chairmanship position.

Following the withdrawal of George from the race, other five aspirants from the zone followed suit by pulling out of the race as well. Although not stated, many believed that these aspirants may have been aggrieved by what they perceived as unfair treatment of the zone and decided to pull out and also to boost the chances of Prof. Adeniran who is also from the zone.

George, who withdrew from race 24 hours to the commencement of the exercise, also blamed the monetisation of the chairmanship race for his withdrawal, saying that the PDP is on the verge of self- destruct.

“Let me make abundantly clear that I, Olabode George, did not step down for anybody. I will not step down for anybody but what I am doing is to withdraw from the race on principle and against the observed wrong,” he said.

Though the convention was billed to commence at 10am, as early as 6.30am on Saturday, delegates started trooping to the Eagle Square, venue of the convention, located in the Three Arms Zone.

Security was tight within and around the venue as a combined team of security operatives was on ground.

Only duly accredited party members and journalists were allowed into the convention ground.

All the PDP governors, former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President Namadi Sambo, past PDP governors and ministers were among leaders of the party at the convention, where they expressed optimistism that PDP would win the 2019 presidential election.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan who led other leaders to flag off the elective convention said the chances of the PDP at the next election was bright.

“Our party has done extremely well in managing the affairs of this country. Let it be known, in all nooks and crannies of our country, that the PDP is back to reclaim its rightful place in the affairs of our nation.

“As we have always done, we are ready to return Nigeria to the path of steady and robust economic growth, driven by sound sectoral reforms, infrastructural renewal, gender balance, youth entrepreneurial development and job creation,” former President Jonathan said.

Jonathan criticised the APC-led administration for turning its anti-corruption war into persecution of opponents, adding that such practice would soon end.

On his part, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said in the 16years that PDP governed the nation, it succeeded in keeping it united, peaceful and prosperous.

“We made mistakes, but we put our nation first. We did not favour only states that voted for us and punish those that did not. We favoured all. And we also know that 5% and 97% do not add up to 100%,” he said.

Atiku, whose comment was his first at a major function of the PDP since rejoining the party early this month, regretted that APC government had continued in the same act of blaming previous governments for the nation’s woes rather than solve problems it was elected to address.

He said PDP was the party that would restructure Nigeria into a modern nation with working institutions and a system that gives back power to the people.

In his welcome address, chairman of the dissolved National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said his committee had been able to navigate through difficult circumstances to be able get to the current stage of the party.

“We have laid a foundation for the effort at rebuilding the party,” he said.

On reconciliation, Makarfi said the party had succeeded in getting everyone to make sacrifices.

He advised the new leadership to focus on ways to encourage women and youth participation in the affairs of the party.

Speaking on the failings of the APC administration, Makarfi said government seemed unaware that Nigerians were hungry as poverty was ravaging the land.

He said insecurity in the North-east which was thought to be receding was creeping back with greater ferocity, particularly against soft targets, adding that kidnapping for ransom has taken a life of its own, just as incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes were becoming rampant.

While addressing party members, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, scored the APC-led administration low on security, economy, job creation, and national unity.

He described the 16 years that the PDP was in power as glorious years for the country, noting that “good men and women who left PDP for the APC are eager to return to join us to build a better Nigeria”.

He said: “the PDP worked out Nigeria’s debt forgiveness and paid up our remaining debts, but today, we are getting indebted more than any other time in the history of Nigeria.

“We groomed and bequeathed the fastest growing economy as well as the largest economy in Africa. The story is different today”.

At the convention, motions were moved for the amendments of certain provisions of the party’s constitution.

Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Sireka Dickson, moved the motion for the amendments.

The amendments include Section 8, to change the procedure for rejoining the party by members who left and seek to return; Section 50, to relax the minimum time requirements before members can seek for election to offices of the party; Section 29, to make the six national vice chairmen members of the NEC of the PDP constitution; Section 41 (1), to strengthen the powers of the national auditor; Section 31(1) d, to give chairman and BOT members voting rights in NEC; and Section 32, relating to the composition and membership of BOT.

All the amendments were proposed to take effect on January 1, 2018.

  • Akwad

    Secundus and his pdp co travellers are a fraud. How did pdp lose the power they want to regain in the first place?
    As far as he and his co travellers are concerned, they were foolish to have let power go from them.
    This is brigandage at play once again, not High Politics. The politics of Daily Bread and Full Stomach for the rapacious pdp gunslingers.
    Let’s secure power for power sake. It’s not about the people.

  • PolyGon2013

    Congratulations to Mr. Secondus.

  • KWOY

    The most important thing for me is that it was not a Yoruba!

    • PolyGon2013

      Congratulations! I am also glad it is not us. We know our politics. Stay tuned.

    • Seyi Adekanye

      Hahaha. This comment is hilarious.

  • Romla

    A non-event.This reminds me of a gathering by a den of robbers to elect their leader, in a bid to challenge a rival den in an attempt to take back lost territory.I hope Nigerians get wise that it is time to do away with both parties and their candidates at all levels.In my view anything else can not be worse than the collection of recycled,lowly qualified elements that make up both parties.By 2019,which will be one year away from the “vision 2020″ and other gimmicks they sold to Nigerians,it will be time for Nigerians to tell them”thank you all,but bye bye”.

    • bigdaddy

      Your submission is spot on, but the possibility that Nigerians will bid farewell to these two parties will remain a mirage for the foreseeable future. This is so because the reality is, barring any miracle, we are stuck with these two (one?) incompetent parties. The level of ignorance, ethnicity and religious fanaticism (on both sides) pose a great challenge to a mass revolt. The reaction of the typical Nigerian (particularly the educated ones) to issues of impropriety raised against anyone is to impugn ethnic or religious bias as the motivation for such accusations.
      A Buhari, Jonathan and their predecessors would not have been possible if not for the twin evils of ethnicity and religion.
      I really do not see Nigerians rising as one to protest bad governance in the near future. Perhaps that might happen when the situation gets to the level of dog eat eat

      • Romla

        Spot on.I agree totally.However we have a right to hope..Hope Is the only thing keep ing many of us alive.A glimmer of hope can move a tiny idea into a reality particularly in today’s world.Personally Buhari and APC were the last opportunity for these mafia of politicians to prove me wrong that they are incorrigible.They have failed to do so.Never will I be deceived by this swamp of self serving human crocodiles.As far as I am concerned they are a waste of time, a waste of expectation and hope..With them at best we will have moved only a few inches forward by 2050.

      • Jon West

        We are at the level of dog eat dog, but because of oil revenue, most of the vermin that inhabit this blighted land do not know. If the masses of extremely poor people in Nigeria refuse to see that poor leadership and it’s quality is the bane of Nigerias progress, then let them die in their millions here , in the sahara and on the Mediterranean Sea. People have to use their senses or suffer the fate of fools. To hell with Nigeria!!

        • bigdaddy

          That sense will be a long time coming. Sometimes i do not really blame you for querying if the black man is genetically inferior in intellect to other races of Homo sapiens. Why we cling so tenaciously to mundane primordial issues that add no to our lives is sickening.

          You are right. Oil has been the linchpin holding this country together. I was a bit disappointed when these militants stopped bombing those oil pipelines and i cannot wait for it to lose all value. Every Nigerian will then know that he will not eator drink his tribe or religion. We will be forced to do the needful then-to dismember, or restructure or to implode. As things stand today, we are not sitting on a keg of gun powder but a nuclear bomb; the elites know it but are comforted by the fact that they have stolen so much to guaranty them and their generations comfort in a safe heaven elsewhere when the bomb goes off. They do not care about the millions that will die. Nigeria will be worse than Somalia when that bomb goes off. Is it not an irony that Nnamdi Kanu’s prediction will come to pass though not by his own making?

          • Jon West

            Kanus prediction is an oxymoron. The end of Nigeria ,as we know it , is nigh. The fraud that is Nigeria is untenable and must be reversed or determined in a contractual sense. If we were Europeans or Asians , we would have made a deal with each other, instead of this constant fighting for the crumbs of natural resources when we have a surfeit of people that can move the country ,continent and the Black race forward in all aspects of human endeavor.

            Our moslems, who prefer ISIS dogma to the UAE/Iranian and even Indonesian moslem ideology , can continue praying and killing to enter Al Jina and the christians paying tithes to scammer pastors in a silly bid to buy salvation or create wealth without work, while the rest of the world has moved on, consigning religion to its role in human life-simple spiritual rites and encouraging uplift in difficult times, should really hide their faces in shame.
            To hell with Nigeria!!

  • peace

    APC national chairman South south, PDP national chairman south south . APC presidentia candidate north, PDP presidential candidate north. Vice president under APC southwest under PDP southwest . Senate president APC northcentral , if PDP wins the Senate President southeast . House leader under APC north , house leader under PDP south south . With APC everything apart from the vice president and house leader are Moslems , with PDP everything apart from the President and house leader will be Christian . Petroleum ministry under APC controlled by the north, under PDP will be controlled by the south south. Finance under APC controlled by the southwest, under PDP will be controlled by the southeast. Power , works and housing will remain with the southwest either in PDP or APC.

  • Mac

    I believe Seondus and Olabode Goerge were more popular in that contest but unfortunately, south west contestants didn’t do their home work properly.
    I believe, the North would have supported them massively but they failed to present one contestant.
    Also,the unity list may have been impossible in that convention if most south west contestants had withdrawn earlier, infact they messed up the opportunity.

    It happened that Northern PDP, which would have been a deciding force in that convention, got fed up with the over populated contenstants from the west, they decided to turn their support to Secondus.

    PDP South west, were so divided in pursuit of that chairmanship position and they pay for it.
    A house divided can not stand.

    The convention was democratically done, so nobody should be blamed.

    • D.S.

      The south south should never have gotten into the race for party chairmanship

      • Toby

        Why? Want easy way out? Maybe it should have been zoned to a specific local government area or even village.

      • PolyGon2013

        Why not? SS is part of Nigeria, and it has the right to do so.

        • D.S.

          The SS should have allowed d SW have d party chairmanship that way the position of VP would ve being between SE and SS

          • PolyGon2013

            I disagree. Since the position has been zoned to the south, each zone in it can evolve their own strategy to clinch it. Kudos to SS. They know how to play their politics. With that said, VP should be zoned to SE, and Senate President to SW. Then, 2019 will really interesting. If this arrangement were made, APC will be forced to perform!

          • D.S.

            I agree with your points

          • PolyGon2013

            Thanks. By the way, I am an APC supporter. And I would like to see them on their toes to make a better Nigeria. And if PDP happens to win fair and square, we Nigerians need to support them, and also put them on their toes. Democracy is great, but it needs constant re-working to make it work. Have a nice day.

          • D.S.

            I am a PDP supporter …democracy will continue to grow as the ruling party and opposition party engage in a battle of the brain and best practices…we will keep working to make democracy work in nigeria…PDP is yet to make the changes that will make nigeria have a look at them again but we are working on it…till then,we will keep APC on its toes….

    • Igiligii Awka

      Mr Wike is the piper that dictates the tune in PDP (financier), therefore in a money oriented polity such as ours, you only expect one outcome – which is that his preferred candidate wins the ballot.

    • E don do Niaja

      On point Mac! Dokpesi will be the last to win PDP chairmanship election. Olabode George no doubt was would have been a good chaiman for PDP, but majority wins and I guess minority are having their say.

  • Daniel Obior

    PDP has ended this important convention in discord, with the Southwest aggrieved. The party just cannot help itself when it comes to high handedness. Why was the so called Unity list necessary in the middle of the convention which ought to have ensured a level playing field for all candidates? It should learn from its bitter experience whereby the Southwest proved pivotal to its loss of the 2015 election. It has to find a way to assuage the Southwest, if it expects to do better in the next election. Zoning the Vice President to the Southwest may do the trick.

    • ifeanyi victor

      Are you saying that if anybody prints unsigned documents and distributes on the convention ground that nullifies a peaceful election?
      If you’re meant to win and popular among your colleague an unsigned document of questionable source will not defeat you.
      What if it was done by APC agents?.

      • Milito

        I totally agree with you. That list doesn’t invalidates the outcome of the election. But one thing I know is that the VP will be from South West and most likely will be a someone with strong grassroot and strong political sagacity. I guess this is a strong political permutation to give PDP an edge in 2019 .

        • Pluti

          PDP nonsense, vision 2020 is 1 year from 2019. They sought that vision, before they left 2 years ago, it was not even 30% close to execution. This party has no zeal, strength and willingness to impact any ideal in the Nigerian and west African society. They are very good with rigging and carelessness (roforofo people)

        • ifeanyi victor

          Whatever they like,but,if the north east can be made or realise that the north west have been eating all the cakes in the north in terms of the presidency and swings the higher percentage of their votes to Atiku,buhari is gone.
          Fulani herdsmen issues have made buhari unpopular in the north central zone,ofcourse,kogi,plateau,benue,which caused pdp the presidency,forget the noise from SW,will most likely go to pdp this time around.
          If these two scenerio play out,buhari will be a goner.
          Remember apc defeated pdp by a margin of about 2million votes even with Jonathan loosing the traditional pdp states like benue,kogi etc.
          Atiku will do better than gej in the north west for obvious reason,and if he does well in his geopolitical zone powered by the sentiment of the zone haven marginalised in the presidency(north east),then he’s home and dry in a so rock.
          Buhari cannot win him in north central,south south and south east.

          • PolyGon2013

            A year is a long time in politics. And human memories are short. If things begin to turn around for the better in Nigeria, Buhari will win again.

      • Daniel Obior

        By all means no. I have not at any stage hinted the election is null. All am saying is that all ought to have been done to avoid a divided house as perhaps is now the case. What can be wrong in preventing the distribution of unsigned documents, if such documents could result in putting a process into question, as the party is now witnessing?

        • E don do Niaja

          I understand your reasoning bro! You might as well say those campaigning for Alhaji Sule Lamido, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa at the convention should not have. Politics was at play and the group led by Jerry Gana who micro-zoned lost out. For those of us who remember SDP convention at Polo field in Jos this alliance and re-alliance building in politics. 2000 votes versus less than 500 votes? Give me a break!

          • Daniel Obior

            If you indeed understand my reasoning, then this sermon of yours is unnecessary. Politics can be played with caution such that no group feels alienated. It may be difficult, but it can be done. I rest my case.

    • PolyGon2013

      If the vote was free and fair, there is no need to please anyone. I think the VP should be zoned to SE, and Senate to SW.

      • Dele Awogbeoba

        When has the legislators ever listened to party zoning? PDP is dead in Yoruba land . That will gradually become apparent.

        • PolyGon2013

          It is ok. PDP does not have to be alive in SW, just as Democrats (in the USA) are not alive in other states within the United States. This process could eventually lead to APC and PDP forming ideological positions, where those who agree with either parties can align themselves accordingly. For now, I would still want APC to win the presidency in 2019. However, in 2023, I would rather another party (PDP or APGA, it exists at the time) wins the election so that APC won’t brag about staying there forever. The incumbents must be kept on their toes.

      • Daniel Obior

        There is always the need to please in politics. Politics has never been an exact science. You alienate a group at your peril, as PDP found out in 2015. It appears the party is still to learn from that experience.

        • PolyGon2013

          If SW had won the Chairman position, don’t you think others would also be aggrieved? Anyway, whatever the case, in as much as we have a formidable opposition (not to the extent of stifling progress though), it is fine with me.

          • Daniel Obior

            If the chairmanship was zoned to the SW just like the president is zoned to the North, there would have been less grievance.

          • PolyGon2013

            President was not zoned to a particular zone in the north. I guess they used the same reason for not zoning the chairmanship position to a particular zone in the south. I have the feeling that Senate president will be zoned to SW, and VP to SE. If Chairman is zoned to SW, I am other sure if their would be less grievance though. Anyway, I hope for the best for Nigeria.

          • Daniel Obior

            I fully agree with you. However, the danger of zoning Senate to SW is that the election would have come and gone without the SW having something substantial before election. That could negatively impact their voting.

    • PRIME MINISTER

      So because a list was distributed at the convention and the yoruba candidate lost an election he knew he will loose even without a “list”, the SW should be compensated with VP slot!
      The chairmanship slot was given to the SW and they were asked to produce a consensus candidate which they refused to do until the election morning. If they lost, it is bcos they failed to agree.
      That 1999 “compensate us” method of gaining power will not happen. It didn’t matter to you that the SW in the last 18yrs+ has been President/VP for 10yrs+ and by 2019 it will be 12yrs in 20yrs!
      May I also let you know that the SW was not the decisive region in the 2015 election. PDP got over 40% of votes cast in this region.
      That a yoruba man was instrumental to APC acclaimed victory is not equal to votes. The SW actually have not done enough for PDP in the region. AD, ACN and APC have been their beds.

      • Dele Awogbeoba

        You are being daft. PDP was the party in power in the SW from 2003 and 2007. The ACN only had one state it governed in the SW up and until 2011. In 2011, GEJ won every Yoruba state except Osun (which includes Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Kwara, Kogi and Ekiti). When ACN virtually took over most SW states, it did not decisively win those states outside of Lagos in 2011. In fact, most of the SW state it won post 2011, it won through court verdicts. It won Oyo state solely because PDP had fractured between Labour and Accord parties. The combined votes of the Ladojo Accord, Labour and PDP votes exceeded the votes garnered by ACN. PDP has gradually been losing support in the SW. At the current time PDP has been getting about 40% of the Yoruba support in every Yoruba state and that is not because of the existence of SE people in the SW. The highest concentration of SE people are in Lagos state only. The Yoruba voted for AD in the presidential elections 1999 but voted PDP in presidential elections 2003, 2007 and 2011.

        By 2023, the NW would have been president for 11 years (2007-2010 and 2015-2023) and Vice for 5 years (2010-2015). I am therefore not sure what your point is.

        • PRIME MINISTER

          Just wondering how you got to 2023! Pulling in speculation in a bid to prove a point. A lot of speculations there really. 2019 is near.

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            PDP will select a Fulani as its presidential candidate and that person will most probably come from the NW.

      • E don do Niaja

        Abeg say it louder bro!

      • Daniel Obior

        It was this type of uncompromising attitude that made PDP lose the SW in 2015 and the election in general. All the best in 2019.